The Return to In-Person Events: A HIMSS Experience


Tomorrow is another trip. You pack your bag the night before, grab it before you head out the door in the morning, rush to the airport and through security to avoid all the lines you can to get to the gate on time. As my boss used to say “the goal is to try not to break stride from the parking lot to the seat on the plane.” Remember those days? I’m trying to as well.

For about two years this pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses specifically as it relates to travel and the ability to meet face-to-face. Some businesses have failed, some faltered and some succeeded through all of this, but the one thing that remained the same for everyone was the difficulty of having in-person meetings for a variety of reasons. That’s why it was so refreshing to finally get back to the HIMSS Conference.

The excitement, the exuberance and the sheer sense of relief in finally being able to see people, to talk to people and to interact with people again. All in all, the HIMSS experience was pretty grand and felt like a bigger party than it ever had been. I got the sense that people have been saving up for this moment for what seemed like a long time and in reality, I guess it was. The enthusiasm was in the air and the parties were all over the place. From the giveaways to the hugs to the conversations, the overall eagerness showed by everybody made it really seem as though we’ve turned the corner on the last couple of years and that we’re getting back to the way life used to be.

I only spent a little time at HIMSS this year but the time I spent was well worth it. It felt great to walk the show floor and see people I hadn’t seen in a while, and I got to meet a whole ton of new people too. New businesses, new leadership and new personnel—all of these things were abundant and apparent around HIMSS but the one constant theme was how happy people were to just be back together.

As a vendor, I benefitted greatly. I would say that I got more out of this year than I may have gotten out of other years. Although our company was not exhibiting, it was easy to see what people were looking for and what people were interested in learning about. It was intriguing to see how the focus of healthcare is transforming and how so many companies – both current and new – play a vital role in that ultimate success.

Artificial intelligence was a prime focus, along with data management, data integrity, analytics and reporting, patient communication and the overall patient experience. All of these focuses played major roles in both the booths and the messaging that was displayed across the myriad of vendors.

I wasn’t in town long enough to go to many of the social activities but I heard that they were well attended, a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed. I can only imagine as we begin to get back into in-person conference season again that these events will continue to grow beyond how they were before the pandemic. You could sense that people were responsible and respectful as well as anxious and eager to get back to these types of in-person gatherings.

Overall, as mandates are lifted and testing requirements rescinded, we will get back to a similar level of travel and attending events like we used to. My prediction is that there will be some pause given to the level of travel and the number of events that everybody participates in. There would likely be more of a focused effort on certain things that are going to drive individual businesses or drive market adoption. Most businesses have learned a new way to virtually operate while still fulfilling corporate objectives. I know for me, I will likely travel less and attend events that are valuable to the specific focus areas and goals of Picis.

Although I do know that I look forward to seeing many of you in person once again, as I truly believe the human interaction element drives both business and personal success.

– Chris Lamont, Director, North American Sales